Arthritis is inflammation of joints of bones, “Arth” meaning “Joint” and “itis” meaning “inflammation”. Bone is hardest of connective tissues which contain 25% of water, 30% of organic matter (fibrous material which gives toughness to the bones) and 45% minerals-calcium, phosphate, magnesium salt, etc. which gives bones rigidity and hardness. The ends of the joint where two bones meet are covered with cartilage, a smooth, slippery cushion that protects the bones and reduces friction during movement. The synovial fluid which is lubricating lined with the synovial membrane seals the joint. Then there are ligaments that surround and support each joint connecting bones and preventing excessive movement. Muscles are also attached to bones by tendons on the side of the joint. Inflammation causes swelling, redness, warmth and pain. It may be caused by trauma or injury or by wear and tear because of ageing. Usually, pain, spasm and loss of function are indications of joint inflammation. The main types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Gout, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Juvenile arthritis, etc.
Not all joint pains may be arthritis. Tennis elbow is caused by overuse of arms or weight lifting. Frozen shoulders may be due to under or excessive use. Similarly, painful feet may be caused by athletic activity. Stiffness of neck may be the result of sleeping in awkward positions. These generally disappear after rest. However, if the pain persists or occurs more frequently, then it needs investigations like RA factor, uric acid in the blood, etc.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that usually occurs above 50 years of age. It results from degenerative changes in the articular cartilage in the joints which are weight bearing such as knees, hips and spine. Because of wear and tear of cartilage of joints which serves as padding and shock absorber, there is friction between the bones resulting in pain. Due to erosion of articular cartilage, there is typical noise called ‘Crepitus’ on joint movement that can be felt or even heard. The ends of the bones thicken at their point of contact with each other which may develop outgrowths called osteophytes. Because of fibrosis of the tissue surrounding the joint, new bone (osteophytes) formation and remodeling of bones takes place. Osteoarthritis of cervical spine is termed cervical spondylosis and that of the lumber spine is called lumbar spondylosis.
Symptoms: (i) Pain in a joint during or after use – Pain involved is maximum with activity (walking, etc.) and decreased by rest; (n) Discomfort in a joint before or during a change in weather; (iii) Loss of Flexibility or swelling in a joint; and (iv) Bony lumps on the end or middle joint of fingers.
Causes: Ageing is one of the main reasons of OA. With advancing age, there is more wear and tear of particular surfaces. Such patients find that their pain is aggravated in cold and wet weather and is relieved by warmth. Malnutrition, continuous physical stress, wrong posture, obesity, calcium deficiency and shortage of HCL, menstrual disorder, i.e., loss of calcium and iron during excessive bleeding and hereditary factor may be causes for this problem. Occupation and life styles are also related to this problem. When the joints are repeatedly stressed in the same way, OA is more likely to develop. A dock worker who bends and lifts all day is more likely to get OA in his knees and spine. Due to ageing and wear and tear of bones, there is calcification of bones and the calcium we take in our food does not get absorbed into making of bones but settles down outside the bones resulting in inflammation of joints.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a serious disease that affects not only the joints of the fingers, wrists, hips, knees and feet, but also the muscles, tendons and other tissues of the body. The disease is due to an inflammatory process of the synovium or lining of the joints accompanied by swelling and eventual deformity. Generally, it occurs between the ages of 20 and 40 and women are more prone.
Symptoms: Rheumatoid Arthritis begins with inflammation in the synovial membrane, which affects the connective tissues throughout the body, and there may be fever, poor appetite, weight loss, anaemia, colitis, constipation, gall bladder disturbance, low blood pressure, deformed hands and feet. The spleen and lymph glands may become enlarged. The skin over the affected joint is often pale and the patient may have poor appetite, coated tongue, headache and depression. Inflamed tissue may grow into the cartilage surrounding the bone ends causing it to deteriorate. When the cartilage disintegrates, scar tissue forms between the bone ends. Sometimes, the scar tissue solidifies into bones fusing the joints, making it rigid and difficult to move. Pain and stiffness occur in the morning and subsides during the day.
Causes: The main cause of the disease is poisoning of blood with acid wastes that results from imperfect elimination and lowered vitality, which is caused by unnatural and wrong food and life style. The acid-alkaline balance is disturbed and this creates acidosis. The disorder may extend to heart and valves and the lining of this vital organ may become inflamed. In certain cases, infection from teeth, tonsil and gall bladder may produce rheumatism. As the problem is aggravated by exposure to cold water, so dampness and cold water should be avoided in the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Constipation leads to accumulation of toxins in the body. A constipated person may be absorbing the toxic antigens through the intestinal wail that eventually become lodged in the joint tissue. Heredity is also one of the reasons for RA. Studies show that RA occurs more commonly in those persons who are usually nervous, tense, emotional, worried and moody. Women are more affected as they do not release their tension. This affects body’s normal functioning which ultimately attacks the joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis is also known as cooked food diseases. Person taking fried, spicy, refined food, alcohol, smoking and doing no exercise develop this problem later because of accumulation of toxins in the body.
Gout also manifests by swelling and pain in the joints and many a time skin becoming red on the swollen joints. It is developed due to faulty metabolism resulting in increased uric acid in blood, exceeding the normal limit of 3 to 6 mg/100 ml. The excess uric acid not excreted by the kidney is accumulated in the joints leading to Gout. Although gout can affect any part of the body, the large joint of the big toe is usually attacked first.
Symptoms: Acute pain in the toe that becomes hot and swollen. It may also affect other joints, such as knees and wrists and the patient may have slight fever. Accumulation of uric acid in the kidney may give rise to kidney stones.
Causes: The main causes of gout are the formation of uric acid and crystals in the joints, skin and kidney. Others include alcoholic drinks, non-vegetarian food, and foods rich in protein and carbohydrates, lack of proper exercise, obesity, insufficient intake of water, stress and strain.
In this type of arthritis, the small joints of the spine are affected first. Pain in lower back and legs is one of the first symptoms. The hips and shoulders may become involved. The disease affects more men then women between the ages of 20 and 30, Eyes, heart and lungs may be affected due to the disease. The ribs can become involved at the point where they join the spine and this reduces the ability to breathe because of the constriction of lungs and chest infection. The jaws may be affected causing difficulty in eating and speaking.
MANAGEMENT OF ARTHRITIS THROUGH NATURE CURE
The disease should be diagnosed at the earliest so that it is brought under control without much damage, agony and suffering. The treatment by allopathic drugs is only temporary and these drugs have serious side effects. These days replacement of knee or hip joint is done with artificial joints, but it is very expensive which a common man cannot afford. Treatment by naturopathy, yoga and diet therapy is more effective and not expensive if done at the right time, i.e., soon after the disease is diagnosed.
Hydrotherapy: Enema, hot and cold spinal bath, hot footbath, hot arms bath, hipbath, steam bath, local steam bath, hot and cold baths and compresses, fomentations, chest pack, abdomen pack, knee pack, neck pack and full wet sheet pack. Sea bathing is considered beneficial in the treatment of arthritis. The natural iodine in sea water relieves arthritis pain and it also regulates- the acid-alkaline balance in blood and tissues, besides strengthening the thyroid gland which regulates the system. In the absence of sea-bathing, tub bath with water mixed with a cup of sea salt will also serve the purpose.
Mud Therapy: Mud packs and local applications can be given on the affected parts. In case of severe pain, mudpack may be given after hot and cold compresses.
Chromotherapy: The affected joint can be exposed to red rays. This is done by first massaging with red bottle charged oil and then tying a red cellophane paper on the affected part and exposing it to sunrays after covering your head with wet cloth for 15-20 minutes. A glass of cold water or juice may be given to the patient before giving this sun bath. In the absence of sunshine, infra red rays through lamp can be given. Half a cup of orange “bottle charged water may be given 15 minutes after the meals.
Fasting therapy: Fasting on plain water or lime juice, coconut water, orange juice, Mosambi juice, grape juice can be done which will facilitate clearing the toxins from the body.
Electrotherapy: Exercises through vibrators, stimulators and rollers help activating the joints and muscles from stiffness.
Massage therapy: Massage with Red bottle sun-charged sesame oil or coconut/mustard oil mixed with camphor helps in relieving pain and stiffness of joints.
Diet therapy: Take alkaline food like fresh fruits and vegetables consisting of cabbage, carrot, turnip, cucumber, radish, onion, beans, ash gourd, pumpkin, etc. In severe cases, raw vegetable juice therapy for about a week is helpful. The alkaline action of raw juices dissolves the accumulation of deposits around the joints and the other tissues. Fresh pineapple juice that contains brome1ain enzyme reduces inflammation of joints. Raw potato juice is beneficial in the treatment of arthritis. In cold weather, the juice may be slightly heated by keeping the glass in hot water and the roughage of raw potato after heating it can be tied on the affected joint. The joints should not be bandaged tightly as this limits the movements and interferes with free circulation of blood. Black til soaked in water overnight is effective in relieving joint pains.
Start your day with a glass of water kept in copper utensil overnight. After passing stools, take a glass of Methi (Fenugreak) seeds water (1 -tablespoon Methi seeds soaked overnight). In case of constipation/acidity, take a glass of Anjir (fig) water (2 Anjir soaked overnight). Your breakfast may consist of sprouts (Moong, 2 tablespoon Alfalfa + 1 tablespoon black til (soaked overnight), followed by vegetable juice/ coconut water/herbal tea. Your lunch should consist of salad, fresh boiled vegetables, chapati, chatni (green dhania, pudina, am/a, ginger, and garlic). In the afternoon, take seasonal fruits like papaya/apple/guava/grapes/ cherry etc. Take vegetable soup before dinner that may consist of vegetable dalia, salad and Chutney. At bed time, take 2 tablespoon wheat bran with water.
Avoid: Fried and spicy food, tea and coffee, excess salt and sugar (salted chips, peanuts, cream cakes), fast food, non-vegetarian food, eggs, smoking, alcohol, cold drinks, sweets, maida products (refined wheat flour products), tinned food, pickles, etc. ( See also : Wrong food combinations, Philosophy and Principles of food intake for holistic health )
Yoga Therapy: Yogasana, pranayama, sukshyam vyayam, yogic shudhi kriyas and other arthritic exercises should be done for relieving the stiffness of joints and tension from tissues and muscles. In case of obesity, weight should be reduced. All these should be done under expert guidance. In case of inflammation, no exercises should be done and rest is helpful. In case of ankylosing arthritis, no forward bending, jerks, jumping exercises and heavy weight-lifting should be done.
If we follow the rules of nature, such problems will not arise. Even after this problem has occurred, if we come to Mother Nature, give up our unhealthy habits and lifestyle, and live a natural living, Mother Nature is very kind to look after her children. We can still recover or at least improve our present position. The choice is ours – whether we want to live a painful, unhappy, short and miserable life or live a long, healthy life full of happiness and bliss. We have to take a decision. Sooner, the better.
Related Research :
U.S. study shows efficacy of Ayurveda medicines in rheumatoid arthritis cure : Personalised Ayurvedic interventions have demonstrated clinically significant improvement in rheumatoid arthritis on a par with allopathy treatment with the added advantage of lesser side-effects, according to a study…….